Have you ever had one of those weeks where you’re still trying to catch your breath? It is a week that has more work to be done and less time to do it? This week has been that for me. With the adjustments of fatherhood and formulating a new schedule for Valerie and me, the learning curve has been steep. On top of that, I had extra work commitments that needed to get done. Thankfully, I am part of a wonderful church community that has helped us in this process by helping us in a variety of ways. The gave us diapers (size 5 please 😉), clothes, toys, and even providing dinner for us. Even with all this love… we’re still trying to adapt to our new environment with our little girl. (See last weeks post about becoming foster parents – ‘Love’).
Since we have been learning SO much, I figured I could share what we’ve learned along the way. If you do not have children or yours are now ‘adult children,’ these lessons still apply. We’re all growing and should be moving forward in our relationship with Christ! The ‘baby steps’ reference in the title isn’t the steps our 16 months old has taken (although she has taken many!) Instead, the baby steps are the small yet significant measures Valerie and I have taken so far in this parenting journey. I know the Lord is walking with you too. Let’s find out together what steps God wants you to take for this week:
1. TAKE ONE STEP AT A TIME
Since Valerie and I embrace new responsibilities with caring for a child, each day is presented with unique challenges. There’s a heightened awareness of how unpredictable our day has become, and each day can be different from the last. As we attempt to make life ‘normal,’ we think through a variety of questions, “What time is she going down for a nap?” “Why didn’t she eat all her food today?” “Will I have a little break for myself?” (We know this question is mostly for cleaning up after her!). There’s a lot to learn, and thinking about plans can become overbearing and daunting. What are we to do?
Jesus reminds each of us to not worry about tomorrow; each day has enough trouble on its own (Matthew 6:34). Can I get an amen?!? Jesus is referencing our basic necessities- what one will eat, drink, and wear. Our Heavenly Father knows that we need these things, so will He not give them to us? Therefore, worrying about if our needs will be met does not demonstrate God’s trust as a provider. Anxiety leads to stress and, coupled with fear, can cause a panic attack. Worry is not the life that God would want for us. Rather, Jesus speaks on prioritizing our life to seek His Kingdom and His righteousness first, and then these things will be given (Matthew 6:33).
Taking one day at a time is seeking the Lord amid my newfound, roller-coaster schedule. Although there are many demands on this day, am I living anxiously? As Jesus mentions, worrying does not add to one’s life… research shows it diminishes the length and quality of life! And, to not worry doesn’t mean you don’t care. Instead, to not worry and give it into the hands of the Lord demonstrates trust that God will do what needs to be done in your life. Never forget – He cares for you!
Think about your current routine – if it is producing a restless or anxiety-ridden lifestyle, then it’s time for a change. If your mind begins to wonder and it lands on worrying, you can actively take those thoughts captive and bring them to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). The Lord has your future and mine, and this includes our future needs – We can be at peace. Trust that God will give you what you need today.
2. LOOK FOR THE VICTORIES
I’ve noticed how easily my focus can be on the problems at hand… especially in the midst of an uncontrollable, crying child! Lord, what am I to do?!? Despite the difficulties each day brings, for they will happen,* we can look back at the victories that were accomplished that day. For us, we put a child to sleep, and she slept over 10 hours! We successfully fed her (we’re working on her liking veggies) and have set up a routine. We’re going from victory to victory in Jesus’ Name!
It’s important not to diminish the nature of the victories you experience. Whether they are gigantic leaps forward or baby steps, a victory is a victory. Don’t let the enemy take away what God has accomplished through you on this day. Every gain achieved is building upon your experience, mental fortitude and can be cumulative – building upon other victories to come. They say ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day,’ right? It took dedication and time to build up the city, but it was eventually completed. So it is when you either add one more brick today or slay that giant for the week, God has called you to be victorious! “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
3. HAVE GRACE
Having grace is by far the most challenging lesson to take hold of as I am constantly thinking about incomplete tasks and unfulfilled expectations. Since I do not have time like I did, my truest intentions cannot meet my reality. As a result, I tend to be hard on myself at the end of the day, wishing I would have done something different to get better results.
You might be in this place as well. Whether you spoke out of anger to a loved one, made a mistake, to negative self-talk, we can be our biggest critic and ‘beat ourselves up.’
Yet, the Bible strongly suggests that I should have grace for myself. Why? Simply because God gave me grace. There’s no need to punish myself since God decided not to do so Himself. We have all “sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are all justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24). God no longer punishes us for our failures, oversights, and missteps because Christ took the penalty for our sin. Thank God for grace… literally!
For those days that are not going as planned and nothing you do seems to be going right… don’t let it get the best of you! Have grace for yourself since God has continual grace for you. You can “approach the throne of grace with confidence so that [you] may receive mercy and find grace to help [you] in your time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Ask the Lord to help you with any thoughts of condemnation and for the Holy Spirit to speak the truth of who you are in Christ. By His grace, we are considered His children, and we should walk according to how He sees us, not how we do. Our worth is not dependent upon how much we work; He loves us as we are.
We are still learning these three lessons, and perhaps you are too. Which point resonates with where you are currently with the Lord? What steps is He calling you to take? I’d appreciate your response and since we are in the faith together. In that way, I can partner with you in prayer as you walk in the Spirit-filled life, one baby step at a time.
Have a blessed week!
*Jesus said that we would have trouble, but we can have peace because He has overcome the world (John 16:33).